On Artillery

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Preview — On Artillery by Bruce I. On Artillery by Bruce I. Gudmundsson tells the story of field artillery in the 20th century and its impact on the major conflicts of our time. Its purpose is to provide the reader--whether artilleryman or not--with hitherto unavailable insights on the role that artillery plays in the larger battle and how that has helped shape the world that we live in today. Unique aspects of the book include the Gudmundsson tells the story of field artillery in the 20th century and its impact on the major conflicts of our time.

Unique aspects of the book include the treatment of technical issues in non-technical language, the extensive use of German and French sources generally unavailable to the English-speaking reader, the shattering of some long-cherished myths, and the discussion of issues that are often papered over in the literature of field artillery--losses from friendly fire, the frequent impotence of counter-battery fire, and the French origins of current American doctrine. The bulk of the literature on field artillery can be fairly described as gunner propaganda.

Gudmundsson, with his emphasis on the way artillery interacts with other arms and the dynamics of the battle as a whole, takes a more balanced and a more critical view, dealing with the failures as well as the achievements of field artillery. This study provides a thorough overview of field artillery in non-technical language that will be of interest to military professionals, military historians, and wargamers. Paperback , pages.

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Published September 10th by Praeger first published September 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about On Artillery , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. John Watson rated it really liked it Apr 07, Paul rated it it was amazing Dec 16, Josh Randall rated it it was amazing Feb 06, Michael Zacchea rated it it was amazing Jan 20, John Long rated it liked it Apr 24, Jonathan rated it it was amazing Jun 24, Brett Friedman rated it liked it Aug 23, Phil Geusz rated it it was amazing Oct 07, Chris rated it really liked it Jul 06, Archbish rated it it was amazing May 24, Joe rated it liked it Jun 09, Tactical Leader rated it liked it Sep 14, Owen rated it really liked it Aug 24, Wilson rated it liked it Mar 02, Wayne Marken rated it liked it Jun 12, Jim rated it it was amazing Apr 25, Brad Thompson rated it it was amazing Oct 08, Kenneth rated it really liked it Aug 26, Declan rated it liked it Jan 10, Teague rated it really liked it Feb 22, Benjamin Maher rated it really liked it Aug 04, Jacob Greenwood rated it it was amazing Jan 24, An implication of indirect fire and improving guns was increasing range between gun and target, this increased the time of flight and the vertex of the trajectory.

The result was decreasing accuracy the increasing distance between the target and the mean point of impact of the shells aimed at it caused by the increasing effects of non-standard conditions. Indirect firing data was based on standard conditions including a specific muzzle velocity, zero wind, air temperature and density, and propellant temperature. In practice, this standard combination of conditions almost never existed, they varied throughout the day and day to day, and the greater the time of flight, the greater the inaccuracy. An added complication was the need for survey to accurately fix the coordinates of the gun position and provide accurate orientation for the guns.

Of course, targets had to be accurately located, but by , air photo interpretation techniques enabled this, and ground survey techniques could sometimes be used. In , the methods of correcting firing data for the actual conditions were often convoluted, and the availability of data about actual conditions was rudimentary or non-existent, the assumption was that fire would always be ranged adjusted.

British heavy artillery worked energetically to progressively solve all these problems from late onwards, and by early , had effective processes in place for both field and heavy artillery. These processes enabled 'map-shooting', later called 'predicted fire'; it meant that effective fire could be delivered against an accurately located target without ranging.

Nevertheless, the mean point of impact was still some tens of yards from the target-centre aiming point. It was not precision fire, but it was good enough for concentrations and barrages. These processes remain in use into the 21st Century with refinements to calculations enabled by computers and improved data capture about non-standard conditions.

The British major-general Henry Hugh Tudor pioneered armour and artillery cooperation at the breakthrough Battle of Cambrai. The improvements in providing and using data for non-standard conditions propellant temperature, muzzle velocity, wind, air temperature, and barometric pressure were developed by the major combatants throughout the war and enabled effective predicted fire. In the sixty years preceding , this figure was probably as low as 10 percent. The remaining 90 percent fell to small arms, whose range and accuracy had come to rival those of artillery.

Bellamy , pp. An estimated 75, French soldiers were casualties of friendly artillery fire in the four years of World War I. Modern artillery is most obviously distinguished by its long range, firing an explosive shell or rocket and a mobile carriage for firing and transport. However, its most important characteristic is the use of indirect fire, whereby the firing equipment is aimed without seeing the target through its sights.

Indirect fire emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and was greatly enhanced by the development of predicted fire methods in World War I. However, indirect fire was area fire; it was and is not suitable for destroying point targets; its primary purpose is area suppression. These relied on laser designation to 'illuminate' the target that the shell homed onto. The introduction of these led to a new issue, the need for very accurate three dimensional target coordinates — the mensuration process. Weapons covered by the term 'modern artillery' include " cannon " artillery such as howitzer , mortar , and field gun and rocket artillery.

Certain smaller-caliber mortars are more properly designated small arms rather than artillery, albeit indirect-fire small arms. This term also came to include coastal artillery which traditionally defended coastal areas against seaborne attack and controlled the passage of ships. With the advent of powered flight at the start of the 20th century, artillery also included ground-based anti-aircraft batteries. The term "artillery" has traditionally not been used for projectiles with internal guidance systems , preferring the term "missilery", [ citation needed ] though some modern artillery units employ surface-to-surface missiles.

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Advances in terminal guidance systems for small munitions has allowed large-caliber guided projectiles to be developed, blurring this distinction. One of the most important roles of logistics is the supply of munitions as a primary type of artillery consumable, their storage ammunition dump , arsenal , magazine and the provision of fuses, detonators and warheads at the point where artillery troops will assemble the charge, projectile, bomb or shell. Fuzes are the devices that initiate an artillery projectile, either to detonate its high explosive HE filling or eject its cargo illuminating flare or smoke canisters being examples.

The official military spelling is "fuze". Most artillery fuzes are nose fuzes. At least one nuclear shell and its non-nuclear spotting version also used a multi-deck mechanical time fuze fitted into its base. Impact fuzes were, and in some armies remain, the standard fuze for HE projectiles.

Their default action is normally 'superquick', some have had a 'graze' action which allows them to penetrate light cover and others have 'delay'. Delay fuzes allow the shell to penetrate the ground before exploding. Armor- or concrete-piercing fuzes are specially hardened. During World War I and later, ricochet fire with delay or graze fuzed HE shells, fired with a flat angle of descent, was used to achieve airburst. HE shells can be fitted with other fuzes.

Airburst fuzes usually have a combined airburst and impact function. However, until the introduction of proximity fuzes , the airburst function was mostly used with cargo munitions—for example, shrapnel, illumination, and smoke. The larger calibers of anti-aircraft artillery are almost always used airburst. Airburst fuzes have to have the fuze length running time set on them. This is done just before firing using either a wrench or a fuze setter pre-set to the required fuze length.

Early airburst fuzes used igniferous timers which lasted into the second half of the 20th century. Mechanical time fuzes appeared in the early part of the century. These required a means of powering them. The Thiel mechanism used a spring and escapement i. From about , electronic time fuzes started replacing mechanical ones for use with cargo munitions. Proximity fuzes have been of two types: The former was not very successful and seems only to have been used with British anti-aircraft artillery 'unrotated projectiles' rockets in World War II.

Radar proximity fuzes were a big improvement over the mechanical time fuzes which they replaced. Mechanical time fuzes required an accurate calculation of their running time, which was affected by non-standard conditions. With HE requiring a burst 20 to 30 feet 9. Accurate running time was less important with cargo munitions that burst much higher. Their ground use was delayed for fear of the enemy recovering 'blinds' artillery shells which failed to detonate and copying the fuze. The first proximity fuzes were designed to detonate about 30 feet 9. These air-bursts are much more lethal against personnel than ground bursts because they deliver a greater proportion of useful fragments and deliver them into terrain where a prone soldier would be protected from ground bursts.

However, proximity fuzes can suffer premature detonation because of the moisture in heavy rain clouds. These fuzes have a mechanical timer that switched on the radar about 5 seconds before expected impact, they also detonated on impact. The proximity fuze emerged on the battlefields of Europe in late December They have become known as the U. Artillery's "Christmas present", and were much appreciated when they arrived during the Battle of the Bulge. They were also used to great effect in anti-aircraft projectiles in the Pacific against kamikaze as well as in Britain against V-1 flying bombs.

Electronic multi-function fuzes started to appear around Using solid-state electronics they were relatively cheap and reliable, and became the standard fitted fuze in operational ammunition stocks in some western armies. The early versions were often limited to proximity airburst, albeit with height of burst options, and impact. Later versions introduced induction fuze setting and testing instead of physically placing a fuze setter on the fuze. The latest, such as Junghan's DM84U provide options giving, superquick, delay, a choice of proximity heights of burst, time and a choice of foliage penetration depths.

A new type of artillery fuze will appear soon. In addition to other functions these offer some course correction capability, not full precision but sufficient to significantly reduce the dispersion of the shells on the ground.

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The projectile is the munition or "bullet" fired downrange. This may or may not be an explosive device. Traditionally, projectiles have been classified as "shot" or "shell", the former being solid and the latter having some form of "payload". Shells can also be divided into three configurations: The latter is sometimes called the shrapnel configuration.

The most modern is base ejection, which was introduced in World War I. Both base and nose ejection are almost always used with airburst fuzes. Bursting shells use various types of fuze depending on the nature of the payload and the tactical need at the time. Most forms of artillery require a propellant to propel the projectile at the target. Propellant is always a low explosive, this means it deflagrates instead of detonating , as with high explosives.

The shell is accelerated to a high velocity in a very short time by the rapid generation of gas from the burning propellant. This high pressure is achieved by burning the propellant in a contained area, either the chamber of a gun barrel or the combustion chamber of a rocket motor.

On Artillery - Bruce I. Gudmundsson - Google Книги

Until the late 19th century, the only available propellant was black powder. Black powder had many disadvantages as a propellant; it has relatively low power, requiring large amounts of powder to fire projectiles, and created thick clouds of white smoke that would obscure the targets, betray the positions of guns, and make aiming impossible.

In , nitrocellulose also known as guncotton was discovered, and the high explosive nitroglycerin was discovered at much the same time. Nitrocellulose was significantly more powerful than black powder, and was smokeless. Early guncotton was unstable, however, and burned very fast and hot, leading to greatly increased barrel wear.

Widespread introduction of smokeless powder would wait until the advent of the double-base powders, which combine nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin to produce powerful, smokeless, stable propellant. Many other formulations were developed in the following decades, generally trying to find the optimum characteristics of a good artillery propellant; low temperature, high energy, non-corrosive, highly stable, cheap, and easy to manufacture in large quantities.

Broadly, modern gun propellants are divided into three classes: Propelling charges for tube artillery can be provided in one of two ways: Generally, anti-aircraft artillery and smaller-caliber up to 3" or This simplifies loading and is necessary for very high rates of fire. Bagged propellant allows the amount of powder to be raised or lowered, depending on the range to the target. It also makes handling of larger shells easier.

Each requires a totally different type of breech to the other. A metal case holds an integral primer to initiate the propellant and provides the gas seal to prevent the gases leaking out of the breech; this is called obturation. With bagged charges, the breech itself provides obturation and holds the primer. In either case, the primer is usually percussion, but electrical is also used, and laser ignition is emerging. Because field artillery mostly uses indirect fire the guns have to be part of a system that enables them to attack targets invisible to them in accordance with the combined arms plan.

Organisationally and spatially, these functions can be arranged in many ways. Since the creation of modern indirect fire, different armies have done it differently at different times and in different places. Technology is often a factor, but so are military—social issues, the relationships between artillery and other arms, and the criteria by which military capability, efficiency, and effectiveness are judged.

Cost is also an issue because artillery is expensive due to the large quantities of ammunition that it uses and its level of manpower. Communications underpin the artillery system, as it must be reliable and available in real-time. During the 20th century communications often used flags, morse code by radio, line and lights which could include voice and teleprinter , to name a few contrivances.

In western armies radio communications are now usually encrypted. The emergence of mobile and man-portable radios after World War I had a major impact on artillery because it enabled fast and mobile operations with observers accompanying the infantry or armoured troops. In World War II, some armies fitted their self-propelled guns with radios. However, sometimes in the first half of the 20th century, hardcopy artillery fire plans and map traces were distributed. Data communications can be especially important for artillery because by using structured messages and defined data types fire control messages can be automatically routed and processed by computers.

For example, a target acquisition element can send a message with target details which is automatically routed through the tactical and technical fire control elements to deliver firing data to the gun's laying system and the gun automatically laid. As tactical data networks become pervasive, they will provide any connected soldier with a means for reporting target information and requesting artillery fire. Command is the authority to allocate resources, typically by assigning artillery formations or units. Terminology and its implications vary widely.

However, very broadly, artillery units are assigned in direct support or in general support. Typically, the former mostly provide close support to manoeuvre units, while the latter may provide close support and or depth fire, notably counter-battery. Generally, 'direct support' also means that the artillery unit provides artillery observation and liaison teams to the supported units. General support units may be grouped into artillery formations; for example, brigades, even divisions, or multi-battalion regiments, and usually under command of division, corps, or higher HQs.

General support units tend to be moved to where they are most required at any particular time. Artillery command may impose priorities and constraints to support their combined arms commander's plans. Target acquisition can take many forms, it is usually observation in real time, but may be the product of analysis. Artillery observation teams are the most common means of target acquisition. However, air observers have been use since the beginning of indirect fire and were quickly joined by air photography. Target acquisition may also be by anyone that can get the information into the artillery system.

Targets may be visible to forward troops or in depth and invisible to them. Control , sometimes called tactical fire control, is primarily concerned with 'targeting' and the allotment of fire units to targets. This is vital when a target is within range of many fire units and the number of fire units needed depends on the nature of the target, and the circumstances and purpose of its engagement.

Targeting is concerned with selecting the right weapons in the right quantities to achieve the required effects on the target. Allotment attempts to address the artillery dilemma—important targets are rarely urgent and urgent targets are rarely important. Of course importance is a matter of perspective; what is important to a divisional commander is rarely the same as what is important to an infantry platoon commander.

Broadly, there are two situations: In the latter situation, command assigns fire units to the operation and an overall artillery fire planner makes a plan, possibly delegating resources for some parts of it to other planners. Fire plans may also involve use of non-artillery assets, such as mortars and aircraft.

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  • Control of fire against opportunity targets is an important differentiator between different types of artillery system. In some armies, only designated artillery HQs have the tactical fire control authority to order fire units to engage a target, all 'calls for fire' being requests to these HQs. This authority may also extend to deciding the type and quantity of ammunition to be used.

    In other armies, an 'authorised observer' for example, artillery observation team or other target acquisition element can order fire units to engage. In the latter case, a battery observation team can order fire to their own battery and may be authorised to order fire to their own battalion, and sometimes to many battalions. For example, a divisional artillery commander may authorise selected observers to order fire to the entire divisional artillery.

    When observers or cells are not authorised, they can still request fire. Armies that apply forward tactical control generally put the majority of the more senior officers of artillery units forward in command observation posts or with the supported arm. Those that do not use this approach tend to put these officers close to the guns. In either case, the observation element usually controls fire in detail against the target, such as adjusting it onto the target, moving it, and coordinating it with the supported arm as necessary to achieve the required effects.

    Firing data has to be calculated and is the key to indirect fire; the arrangements for this have varied widely. Firing data has two components: The process to produce firing data is sometimes called technical fire control. Before computers, some armies set the range on the gun's sights, which mechanically corrected it for the gun's muzzle velocity.

    For the first few decades of indirect fire, firing data were calculated by the observer, who then adjusted the fall of shot onto the target. The need to engage targets at night or in depth, or to hit the target with the first rounds, led to predicted fire being quickly developed in World War I. Predicted fire existed alongside the older method. After World War II, predicted methods were invariably applied, but the fall of shot usually needed adjustment because of inaccuracy in locating the target, the proximity of friendly troops, or the need to engage a moving target.

    Target location errors were significantly reduced once laser rangefinders, orientation, and navigation devices were issued to observation parties. In predicted fire, the basic geospatial data of range, angle of sight, and azimuth between a fire unit and its target was produced and corrected for variations from the 'standard conditions'. The net effect of variations can also be determined by shooting at an accurately known point, a process called 'registration'.

    All these calculations to produce a quadrant elevation or range and azimuth were done manually using instruments, tablulated, data of the moment, and approximations until battlefield computers started appearing in the s and s. While some early calculators copied the manual method typically substituting polynomials for tabulated data , computers use a different approach. They simulate a shell's trajectory by 'flying' it in short steps and applying data about the conditions affecting the trajectory at each step.

    This simulation is repeated until it produces a quadrant elevation and azimuth that lands the shell within the required 'closing' distance of the target coordinates. Technical fire control has been performed in various places, but mostly in firing batteries. However, in the s, the French moved it to battalion level and combined it with some tactical fire control.

    This was copied by the US. Nevertheless, most armies seemed to have retained it within firing batteries, and some duplicated the technical fire control teams in a battery to give operational resilience and tactical flexibility. Computers reduced the number of men needed and enabled decentralisation of technical fire control to autonomous sub-battery fire units, such as platoons, troops, or sections, although some armies had sometimes done this with their manual methods. Computation on the gun or launcher, integrated with their laying system, is also possible.

    MLRS led the way in this. A fire unit is the smallest artillery element, consisting of one or more weapon systems, capable of being employed to execute a fire assigned by a tactical fire controller. Generally it is a battery, but sub-divided batteries are also used. On occasions a battery of 6 guns has been 6 fire units. Fire units may or may not occupy separate positions. Specialist services provide data need for predicted fire. Increasingly, they are provided from within firing units.

    Supply of artillery ammunition has always been a major component of military logistics. Up until World War I some armies made artillery responsible for all forward ammunition supply because the load of small arms ammunition was trivial compared to artillery. Different armies use different approaches to ammunition supply, which can vary with the nature of operations.

    Differences include where the logistic service transfers artillery ammunition to artillery, the amount of ammunition carried in units and extent to which stocks are held at unit or battery level. A key difference is whether supply is 'push' or 'pull'. In the former the 'pipeline' keeps pushing ammunition into formations or units at a defined rate.

    In the latter units fire as tactically necessary and replenish to maintain or reach their authorised holding which can vary , so the logistic system has to be able to cope with surge and slack. Artillery types can be categorised in several ways, for example by type or size of weapon or ordnance, by role or by organizational arrangements.

    The types of cannon artillery are generally distinguished by the velocity at which they fire projectiles. Modern field artillery can also be split into two other subcategories: As the name suggests, towed artillery has a prime mover, usually an artillery tractor or truck, to move the piece, crew, and ammunition around. Towed artillery is in some cases equipped with an APU for small displacements. Self-propelled artillery is permanently mounted on a carriage or vehicle with room for the crew and ammunition and is thus capable of moving quickly from one firing position to another, both to support the fluid nature of modern combat and to avoid counter-battery fire.

    It includes mortar carrier vehicles, many of which allow the mortar to be removed from the vehicle and be used dismounted, potentially in terrain in which the vehicle cannot navigate, or in order to avoid detection. At the beginning of the modern artillery period, the late 19th century, many armies had three main types of artillery, in some case they were sub-branches within the artillery branch in others they were separate branches or corps.

    There were also other types excluding the armament fitted to warships:. After World War I many nations merged these different artillery branches, in some cases keeping some as sub-branches. Naval artillery disappeared apart from that belonging to marines. However, two new branches of artillery emerged during that war and its aftermath, both used specialised guns and a few rockets and used direct not indirect fire, in the s and s both started to make extensive use of missiles:.

    However, the general switch by artillery to indirect fire before and during World War I led to a reaction in some armies. The result was accompanying or infantry guns. These were usually small, short range guns, that could be easily man-handled and used mostly for direct fire but some could use indirect fire. Some were operated by the artillery branch but under command of the supported unit. In World War II they were joined by self-propelled assault guns, although other armies adopted infantry or close support tanks in armoured branch units for the same purpose, subsequently tanks generally took on the accompanying role.

    The three main types of artillery "gun" are guns, howitzers and mortars. During the 20th century, guns and howitzers have steadily merged in artillery use, making a distinction between the terms somewhat meaningless. The term "cannon" is a United States generic term that includes guns, howitzers and mortars; it is not used in other English speaking armies. These three criteria give eight possible combinations, of which guns and howitzers are but two.

    However, modern "howitzers" have higher velocities and longer barrels than the equivalent "guns" of the first half of the 20th century. The latter often led to fixed ammunition where the projectile is locked to the cartridge case. There is no generally accepted minimum muzzle velocity or barrel length associated with a gun. Howitzers also have a choice of charges, meaning that the same elevation angle of fire will achieve a different range depending on the charge used.

    They have rifled bores, lower muzzle velocities and shorter barrels than equivalent guns. All this means they can deliver fire with a steep angle of descent. Because of their multi-charge capability, their ammunition is mostly separate loading the projectile and propellant are loaded separately. That leaves six combinations of the three criteria, some of which have been termed gun howitzers. A term first used in the s when howitzers with a relatively high maximum muzzle velocities were introduced, it never became widely accepted, most armies electing to widen the definition of "gun" or "howitzer".

    The modern mortar originated in World War I and there were several patterns. The projectile with its integral propelling charge was dropped down the barrel from the muzzle to hit a fixed firing pin. Since that time, a few mortars have become rifled and adopted breech loading. There are other recognized typifying characteristics for artillery. One such characteristic is the type of obturation used to seal the chamber and prevent gases escaping through the breech. This may use a metal cartridge case that also holds the propelling charge, a configuration called "QF" or "quickfiring" by some nations.

    The alternative does not use a metal cartridge case, the propellant being merely bagged or in combustible cases with the breech itself providing all the sealing. This is called "BL" or "breech loading" by some nations. A second characteristic is the form of propulsion. Modern equipment can either be towed or self-propelled SP.

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    A towed gun fires from the ground and any inherent protection is limited to a gun shield. Towing by horse teams lasted throughout World War II in some armies, but others were fully mechanized with wheeled or tracked gun towing vehicles by the outbreak of that war. The size of a towing vehicle depends on the weight of the equipment and the amount of ammunition it has to carry.

    A variation of towed is portee, where the vehicle carries the gun which is dismounted for firing. Mortars are often carried this way. A mortar is sometimes carried in an armored vehicle and can either fire from it or be dismounted to fire from the ground. Since the early s it has been possible to carry lighter towed guns and most mortars by helicopter. Even before that, they were parachuted or landed by glider from the time of the first airborne trials in the USSR in the s. In an SP equipment, the gun is an integral part of the vehicle that carries it.

    They are mostly tracked vehicles, but wheeled SPs started to appear in the s. Some SPs have no armor and carry little or no ammunition. Armoured SPs usually carry a useful ammunition load. Early armoured SPs were mostly a "casemate" configuration, in essence an open top armored box offering only limited traverse. However, most modern armored SPs have a full enclosed armored turret, usually giving full traverse for the gun.

    Many SPs cannot fire without deploying stabilizers or spades, sometimes hydraulic. A few SPs are designed so that the recoil forces of the gun are transferred directly onto the ground through a baseplate. A few towed guns have been given limited self-propulsion by means of an auxiliary engine. Two other forms of tactical propulsion were used in the first half of the 20th century: Railways or transporting the equipment by road, as two or three separate loads, with disassembly and re-assembly at the beginning and end of the journey.

    Railway artillery took two forms, railway mountings for heavy and super-heavy guns and howitzers and armored trains as "fighting vehicles" armed with light artillery in a direct fire role. Disassembled transport was also used with heavy and super heavy weapons and lasted into the s. A third form of artillery typing is to classify it as "light", "medium", "heavy" and various other terms.

    It appears to have been introduced in World War I, which spawned a very wide array of artillery in all sorts of sizes so a simple categorical system was needed.

    Some armies defined these categories by bands of calibers. Different bands were used for different types of weapons—field guns, mortars, anti-aircraft guns and coast guns. List of countries in order of amount of artillery: Artillery is used in a variety of roles depending on its type and caliber. The general role of artillery is to provide fire support —"the application of fire, coordinated with the manoeuvre of forces to destroy, neutralize or suppress the enemy". The italicised terms are NATO's. Unlike rockets, guns or howitzers as some armies still call them and mortars are suitable for delivering close supporting fire.

    However, they are all suitable for providing deep supporting fire although the limited range of many mortars tends to exclude them from the role. Their control arrangements and limited range also mean that mortars are most suited to direct supporting fire.

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    Guns are used either for this or general supporting fire while rockets are mostly used for the latter. However, lighter rockets may be used for direct fire support. These rules of thumb apply to NATO armies. Modern mortars , because of their lighter weight and simpler, more transportable design, are usually an integral part of infantry and, in some armies, armor units.

    This means they generally do not have to concentrate their fire so their shorter range is not a disadvantage. Some armies also consider infantry operated mortars to be more responsive than artillery, but this is a function of the control arrangements and not the case in all armies. However, mortars have always been used by artillery units and remain with them in many armies, including a few in NATO. In NATO armies artillery is usually assigned a tactical mission that establishes its relationship and responsibilities to the formation or units it is assigned to.

    The standard terms are: These tactical missions are in the context of the command authority: In NATO direct support generally means that the directly supporting artillery unit provides observers and liaison to the manoeuvre troops being supported, typically an artillery battalion or equivalent is assigned to a brigade and its batteries to the brigade's battalions.

    However, some armies achieve this by placing the assigned artillery units under command of the directly supported formation.

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